|Birthday balloon avalanche|
I used some birthday tape from Paperchase to set up a balloon avalanche, and as a jogger Mr Zissou's instinct was to run through it like a finish line.
Afterwards, as is the tradition with leftover balloons, we put them in our bed under the blankets and jumped on them them until they all popped, and we were left with this peculiar object which looks like a piece of rainbow seaweed.
We also baked a cake for a friend who he shares a birthday with:
It's actually a giant madeleine (using a recipe for the madeleines served at the St John restaurant which are widely regarded as the best in London), with my favourite cream-cheese icing from Hummingbird Bakery, and Maltesers on the top. Really, why would anyone ever use regular icing ever again? Because this cake was for an adult man the design is very restrained compared to some of my previous cakes!
Because Mr Zissou is such a foodie he's quite easy to find gifts for, and I bought him the ingredients he needs for "spherification": a molecular gastronomy technique made famous at the 3 Michelin star restaurant elBulli in Spain .
|Madeleine cake with cream-cheese frosting and Maltesers|
I got the idea for his gift because we went to the elBulli exhibition at Somerset House and I witnessed the wonder and longing in his eyes. elBulli was one of the most famous and groundbreaking restaurants in the world and for 6 months of the year it was a full time food-research lab. They only served food in the other half of the year, and in that time there were over 2 million requests for 8000 places. It closed in 2012 and has now been turned into the elBulli Foundation with a focus on food innovation. The exhibition included replicas of the food, and kitchen equipment developed by elBulli to make the weird and wonderful dishes. At the entrance was this 2 meter tall French Bulldog made of meringue with a collar of intricate sugar flowers and fruit:
|The giant meringue Bulli guarding the elBulli exhibition at Somerset House|
|Top: clay foodmorsels. Left: clay model of the dish. Right: the dish as it was served.|
I bought the molecular gastronomy kit from Amazon, there are loads of them to choose from. Even though I work in a lab and have access to the things he needs like syringes, tubing and some of the chemicals, it would be a serious safety risk to use any of them to cook food, given the kind of chemicals that go round our lab!